1998-99 saw an interesting yet short-lived trend in skate shoes: cupsoles with a soft rubber mid and outsole. Like, really soft – like HUF’s Infinity Rubber once it’s worn in, only 18 years before. Perhaps the most well-respected of these models was the éS Ronnie Creager, but a lesser-appreciated and equally skateable peer could be found in the first DVS Sean Sheffey model.
Released in ’99 and boasting a bit of a lift with the airbag, the Sheffey was nonetheless constructed for feel and grip, striking a nice balance between those aspects and support enough to jump down big shit. Missing from this damn-near-mid was a good amount of unnecessary flair, which was rare for the time. The incredibly soft rubber wore quickly, but allowed for unheard-of boardfeel for the time.
The little DVS logo on the toe was pretty sick, too, leaving us wondering if the minimalist branding of today is really a product of aesthetic trend, or just the lack of interesting ideas to incorporate logos. Clearly, DVS had no issue putting their banner all over this shoe, not to mention a nice rubber plate on the back with Sheffey’s name on it. DVS was, at the time, big on using actual signatures on signature models, adding something of a humanizing trait that aligns well with one of the main solaces we’ve always found in skateboarding – we use the same products as the pros.
Sean Sheffey, for those less familiar, was one of the many characters to come out of the early ’90s “Fuck It” phase of skateboarding. A colossal mixture of personality and innovation, Sheffey step-off-landed (y’know, when you land both feet on a trick, step one foot off, and continue your line anyway, because fuck it) his way into the hearts of so many of us with an amalgam of reckless abandon for physics and “don’t piss that guy off” vibe.
There was never a shortage of surprises coming from the Sheffey camp. His A Soldier’s Story (Life, 1991) part is one of the few from any era that quite literally hold up today, especially given the recent penchant for basic tricks done on bigger/gnarlier stuff. Some of the most powerfully popped tricks to have ever seen a landing came from that part (he fakie ollies a picnic table from flat – not your typical schoolyard table, but a full sized one), not to mention handrail tricks. Fun fact: Sheffey was the first person to skate a handrail head on, like over the top.
Sheffey was deserving of a solid shoe, and the meeting of simplicity (at least for the time) and skateability should have attained legendary status, as far as we’re concerned. According to him, it sold really well, but we never see it referred to anymore in any type of light, let alone one worthy of Sheffey.
DVS gave Sean two more pro models before they parted ways, but the first one will always be our favorite.